The Winsted Local Protection Project is situated along the lower reach of the Mad River in the Winsted section of Winchester. The project is designed to protect 73 acres of commercial, industrial, and residential property in the central part of the city. Additional protection is provided by the dam at Mad River Lake, located about one mile upstream, and Sucker Brook Dam, located about two miles to the southwest.
Construction of the Winsted Local Protection Project began in May 1950 and ended in October 1951, costing $276,000. However, in August 1955, heavy rainfall from two successive hurricanes caused extreme flooding on the Mad River, severely damaging the project. Disaster operations following the flood included clearing the river channel and removing many of the constricting foundations. The city’s acquisition of adjacent land and enforcement of floodplain zoning laws has eliminated much of the congestion along the Mad River channel that existed prior to the 1955 flood.
The original work, completed in 1951, consisted of removing an abandoned dam and excavating the channel for 4,890 feet from Lake Street downstream to a point about 1,700 feet below the Case Street Bridge. Work done by the state following the 1955 storm included widening Main Street and building retaining walls.